Setting Up Weight Loss Resolutions for Success

Author: Leslie Toldo

An estimated 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February, but you should not let that stop you from making them.  If weight loss is your goal in 2024, there are a few ways to set yourself up for success.

Dr. Nicole Franklin, the Assistant Medical Director of the McLaren Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, recommends you first let go of all-or-nothing thinking.

“Some people believe any departure from their resolution is a failure. This rigid way of thinking can lead to giving up entirely after only a minor setback,” Dr. Franklin said. “It is important to understand that progress is not linear, and it's okay to have occasional lapses.”

Nothing can derail your efforts like having unrealistic expectations, stresses Franklin, a board-certified health psychologist. 

“When goals are too difficult to attain, it can be disheartening when progress is slow or challenging,” Franklin said.

She suggests the SMART goal-setting formula.  Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound- think daily, weekly, and monthly.

“Track your achievements using journals or apps, and adjust your plan, if necessary,” Franklin said. “Recognize and celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. Positive reinforcement can boost your motivation. Practice positive self-talk by being kind and forgiving toward yourself.  Avoid self-criticism.”

Your frame of mind plays a pivotal role in helping you reach weight loss goals. A healthy mindset involves taking a balanced approach, focused on both your physical and mental well-being. Center your goals around making healthy lifestyle changes, like eating a balanced diet, controlling portion sizes, getting regular physical activity, and getting good quality sleep. 

“Avoid fad diets,” Dr. Franklin said. “Sidestep unmedically supervised weight loss plans that promise rapid results. These often lead to unsustainable weight loss and potential health risks. Instead, focus on adopting an eating plan that you can maintain long-term.”

Finally, be accountable.  Share your goals with people who support them and will help you stay on track.

“Without accountability, it's easier not to comply with resolutions,” Franklin said.

Remember, there is a lot of professional assistance available to help you navigate your weight loss journey.  Consider talking with a professional if:

  • You have specific health concerns, like diabetes, heart disease, or food allergies.
  • You’re confused about nutritional information.
  • You’re dealing with emotional eating or an eating disorder.
  • You have hit a weight loss plateau.

“Seeking professional dieting support from a behavioral health provider or a registered dietitian can provide you with personalized advice and help you achieve your health and nutrition goals while ensuring your approach is safe and evidence-based,” Franklin said.

To learn more about the McLaren Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, click here.